There’s no denying what a massive task awaits the Lions in Christchurch tomorrow morning when they take on eight-time champions the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final.
The Crusaders are loaded with All Black superstars and have a trophy cabinet all teams in the southern hemisphere tournament are envious of.
They’ve lost just two matches in this year’s competition, are playing in front of their home fans and are on a 14-match winning streak.
The Crusaders also, to be blunt, don’t lose play-off matches at home.
Yet, the Lions have made it to the final for a third straight season and arrived in New Zealand with a spring in their step and a never-say-die attitude.
They have a forward pack blessed with sheer power, which can rival the Crusaders up front. They have an inspirational leader in Warren Whiteley and the best hooker in world rugby in Malcolm Marx. In other words, they have a fighting chance, even though almost everyone has written off their prospects of success.
It’s hard to believe that just five seasons ago, the Lions weren’t even playing Super Rugby after being relegated at the expense of the Southern Kings. They’ve recovered from that heartbreak and are just 80 minutes away from Super Rugby glory.
But to do that, they’ll have to play the match of their lives.